Keynote Speeches

Keynote I

Wednesday, May 20 9:15 - 10:15
Prof. Tsuyoshi Sekitani

"Ultraflexible and stretchable integrated circuit system for comprehensively monitoring brain activities"

Prof. Tsuyoshi Sekitani
Executive Assistant to the President, Distinguished Professor, Osaka University.
The Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research, Osaka University


I will introduce the research and development of flexible and stretchable electronic devices made mainly of functional organic materials and brain activity monitoring systems using these developed devices. Concretely, we developed two different types of brain activity monitoring system. One is a sheet-type brain-wave sensor system (patch brain-wave sensor) that can monitor brain waves simply by attaching the sensor to the forehead. The other is a brain-implant brain-activity-monitoring sensor system to understand higher-order brain functions of primates. In addition, I will outline the leading edge of brain monitoring using these systems and their future prospects.

In Japan with a declining birthrate and aging population, maintaining physical and mental health or brain health is especially important for creating a better society. However, the number of people suffering from dementia is currently five million, and it is predicted to increase to seven million in the near future, which is a serious social problem. The high-order brain activities of humans are not yet completely understood, although brain activities have been actively researched. The reason behind this is the specificity of brains. Namely, the signal intensity of brain waves is extremely small, less than μV order, the brain is softer than other organs, making long-term monitoring of brains difficult even with direct contact with an electrode, and the brain is a sensitive organ; thus, it is difficult to monitor its activities in a natural state because of the discomfort of attaching devices used for monitoring.

Our laboratory has developed process techniques for elaborately laminating nanomaterials on an ultrathin film or a flexible thin rubber film [1-3]. We have been carrying out research and development of ultraflexible and stretchable electronics using our original techniques [4-7]. We have succeeded in developing a system for monitoring biopotentials by combining (1) a flexible/stretchable electrode with biocompatibility and high electric conductivity, (2) a flexible thin-film amplifier to amplify very weak biosignals, (3) a Si-LSI platform with a wireless communication function, and (4) a signal processing technique to visualize signals in real time. The developed system is a sheet-type wireless system with a weight of less than 20 g and a thickness of less than 5 mm. Regardless of this small size, its measurement accuracy is as high as 0.1 μV and it can monitor very weak brain waves. Using this system, we have developed a patch brain-wave sensor and a brain-implant brain-activity-monitoring sensor.

The patch brain-wave sensor has a measurement accuracy comparable to that of large medical equipment. In addition, brain waves can be monitored simply by attaching the sensor onto the forehead; thus, it has been used in not only medical applications but also applications such as the development of products using brain waves, measurement of the quality of sleep, monitoring of brain waves during sport activities, and easy monitoring of brain activities at home.

The brain-implant brain-activity-monitoring sensor enables comprehensive monitoring of brain activities from the cerebral cortex to the deep brain and is expected to help understand high-order brain activities.

[1] M. Kondo, et al., Scientific Reports 9, 9200 (2019).
[2] M. Kondo, et. al., ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 11, 41561?41569 (2019).
[3] A. Takemoto et al., Nanotechnology 30, 37LT03 (2019).
[4] M. Sugiyama, et al., Nature Electronics 2, 351 (2019).
[5] T. Araki et al., Adv. Health. Mater. 8, 1900130 (2019).
[6] T. Araki et al., Adv. Mater. 1902684 (2019).
[7] M. Kondo, et al., Science Advances (2020) in press.

Short Bio

Professor Tsuyoshi Sekitani has developed the world’s thinnest and lightest sheet-type sensor and promoted its implementation in medical devices and devices used in urban systems. For example, he developed a patch-type electroencephalography (EEG) sensor that can precisely monitor brain waves by simply attaching it to the forehead. He founded PGV Inc. in 2016, which markets the patch-type EEG sensor, to promote the brain-tech business*, i.e., the business related to monitoring cranial nerve activity. (*Brain-tech business: According to a report of Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc., the value of the brain-tech business world market will reach five trillion yen by 2024.)

He has published approximately 150 papers in international journals such as Nature and Science. He was selected as one of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds, which consist of researchers whose papers are the most highly cited (in the top 1% of all researchers) among all academic fields, in 2014 and 2018. He was also selected as one of the Most Influential People for Japan 2017 by Nikkei Business.

As the chairperson of the Young Researcher Committee of the Engineering Academy of Japan, he has been providing recommendations on science and technology policies to government organizations and related ministries and agencies. In addition, he serves as the research and development leader of several national projects.

He has presided over Printed Electronics (PE) Association, which aims to promote new manufacturing. Currently, more than 120 companies are members of the Association.

From this fiscal year, he is playing a leading role in the educational reform and research intensification of Osaka University as an Executive Assistant to the President of Osaka University.

Keynote II

Thursday, May 21 17:15 - 18:15
Prof. Georg Fischer

"Integrating Health Monitoring into daily activities through smart wearables and assist devices"

Prof. Dr. Ing. Georg Fischer
FAU University, Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany.


Thanks to advances in health care, there has been a raise of life expectancy, leading into demographic change of aging society, improved management of chronical diseases and finally raising quality of living (QoL). In the past people talked about ambient assisted living (AAL), which meant, that sensors and electronics were placed inside the rooms, where people live. But AAL failed, as the systems did not give assistance when leaving home. Social science tells us that social participation and “feeling safe” when outside home and abroad is key for a high QoL. This implies that assistance systems and sensors have to be body worn, leading into wearable technology.

The talk therefore will present various examples of health assistive devices and electronic solutions that can be integrated into clocks, plasters, clothing and shoes.

In order for those wearables to reach high acceptance, they essentially have to fulfill two criteria. They have to lead into significant improvements in therapy and management of chronical diseases and secondly they have to be integrated seamless into daily life. Assistive devices should not be stigmatizing, so not be of large form factor and thus must be hidden. In addition, the benefits in therapy and management of chronic disease must be clearly observable. This demands that sensing delivers reliable data and robust detection schemes are used. The talk will thus highlight some practical examples of electronic circuits and algorithms how this can be achieved.

Robust detection schemes that deliver trustworthy data and are less subject to artefacts are of ultimate relevance for further advancements. Physicians demand such data obtained continuously during daily life activities and varying physical loads as otherwise they would only acquire diagnosis data during a visit of patient at the doctors and these are not representative.

A diagnosis session at the doctors happens in a well-controlled environment. However, the challenge is to achieve nearly identical quality of data during daily life activities and at different physical loads. Advancements at circuit, algorithmic and system level are presented.

Short Bio

G. Fischer was born in 1965 at Lower Rhine region. From 1986 to 1992 he studied electrical engineering at RWTH Aachen University with special focus on communications, microwave/RF and electrodynamics. In 1992 he was granted Dipl. Ing. (TH) in Electrical Engineering. From 1993 to 1996 he was a research assistant at University of Paderborn, from where he received his Dr.-Ing. degree (summa cum laude) in 1997 for a thesis on a polarisation agile antenna array system for satellite communication.

End of 1996 he joined Bell Labs Research of Lucent Technologies in Germany focusing on basestation RF technology. In 2000 he was promoted Bell Labs DMTS (Distinguished Member of Technical Staff), in 2001 Bell Labs CMTS (Consulting Member of Technical Staff) and in 2007 he was nominated for Bell Labs Fellow. In 2008 he was appointed full professor for electronics engineering at FAU Friedrich-Alexander-Universitat Erlangen-Nurnberg.

His scientific interest is in analogue-digital Balance of electronic systems. In Medical he researches new detection schemes, new circuit designs and digital assisted signal processing approaches for biosignal acquisition and Molecular communication. Starting from a microelectronics viewpoint, he is looking for synergies between wearables and professional medical equipment in order to allow for assessment of biosignal during daily life, routine activities and sports.

He is a member of EUMA, VDE and IEEE and named inventor on more than 50 patents.

Keynote III

Friday, May 22 9:00 - 10:00
Dr. Shingo Tsukada

"Wearable Textile Electrodes for Long-term Vector ECG monitoring “Tensor Cardiography”"

Dr. Shingo Tsukada
NTT Fellow, NTT Basic Research Laboratories, NTT Corporation, Japan.


Transient ECG abnormality, such as ST segment elevation, QT interval elongation or T wave alternans are closely related to serious heart diseases. None invasive cardiac event recorders, Holter ECG and bio-sensing smart devices, have been developing to find temporal symptoms of cardiac diseases. Despite advances in ECG tele-monitoring, skin irritation due to conventional ECG electrode systems is common and deteriorates patient compliance during long-term ECG monitoring.

To provide an electrode having both precision signal and patient compliance during long-term ECG monitoring, we develop the textile bioelectrode “hitoe”, which is combined with hydrophilic electro-conductive polymer PEDOT PSS (poly (3, 4-ethylenedioxythiophene) poly styrene-sulfonate) and polyester nanofiber (700-nm). This textile electrode has biocompatibility, flexibility and hydrophilicity which does not needed electrolyte paste. ECG quality of this conductive textile is almost equal to conventional adhesive electrodes. The level of motion artifacts was comparable between the conventional and textile electrodes, except during twisting body motion. No skin irritation was reported after monitoring with the textile pads.

In order to evaluate the risk of heart diseases, multi-channel, precision ECG is essential. We combined our wearable textile electrodes with vector cardiograph (VCG) system. The pre-fixed attachment of textile electrodes on the underwear or elastic belt, which was subject to VCG lead system, reduced tedious positioning of multi electrodes. Time series, three dimensional cardiac data taken by the wearable VCG is compatible with multi modal signal processing and machine learning for abnormal detection, classification and membrane action potential estimation.

“Tensor cardiography” is expected to utilize for the screening of sub-clinical heart diseases.

Short Bio

Shingo Tsukada
NTT Fellow, NTT Basic Research Laboratories, NTT Corporation.
Shingo Tsukada received an M.D. from Toyama University School of Medicine and a medical license in 1990. He received a Ph.D. in medicine from the University of Tsukuba in 2003. He was a visiting researcher at the University of California at San Diego from 2003 to 2005. He joined NTT Basic Research Laboratories in 2010 as a Research Specialist. He has been studying the mechanism and activity control of signal transduction of brain cells and cardio vascular regulation. His current interests include the detection of biomedical signals and functional modification using novel wearable-type and implant-type bioelectrodes based on the composites of conductive polymers with various fibers and textiles. He is an inventor of textile bioelectrode “hitoe”. He is a member of the Physiological Society of Japan, the Japan Society of Applied Physics, the Japanese Circulation Society, and the Japanese Orthopedic Association.